“We are in the black”: recap of the year for Virtus.pro
Russian esports club Virtus.pro has earned $2,9 million of prize money in 2021, which allowed it to keep its place in the top-5 organizations in terms of overall winnings with $18,1 million earned. With the organizational transformation, success in sports results and the attraction of new partners, the club was able to finish the year in the surplus for the first time in its history.
Teams and transfers
Virtus.pro CS:GO roster has been in the top-10 of HLTV rankings for more than 10 months with the highest spot being top-3. The team participated in 16 tournaments and earned $540,000. Virtus.pro also claimed 5-8th place in PGL Major Stockholm 2021. Evgeny “FL1T” Lebedev replaced Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev in the roster. Adlet “keeN” Nurseytov became a content maker for CS:GO team and all of the shooter branch.
VP Dota 2 roster has been in the top-10 of the ESL World rankings for 11 months, even climbing to the very top spot at some point. The team played in 7 tournaments and earned $1,6 million. Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko has been transferred to Evil Geniuses, while talented young players Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko and Daniyal “yamich” Lazebnyy joined the roster.
Virtus.pro PUBG squad became one of the best in the world. The team played in 12 tournaments and earned $645,000. The team claimed 3rd place in PUBG Global Championship 2021.
VP PUBG MOBILE roster had been signed in March 2021 and had participated in 13 tournaments since then, earning $25,000. The club had announced the reset of the team in December 2021. The new roster featured a line up of strong individuals with a star player Dmytro “OldBoy” Bui being the frontman of the team. Dmytro is a PUBG Mobile Star Challenge World Cup 2019 champion with more than $100,000 prize money won.
Virtus.pro Rainbow Six: Siege team played in 8 tournaments and earned $62,000. The club had announced the reset of the roster in December 2021. The team is to be rebuilt by the start of the competitive season in February 2022.
VP.Prodigy rosters remain an institution for scouting talented young players. Two players from VP.Prodigy Dota 2 roster have been transferred to other teams in 2021. Those clubs were Gambit Esports and Winstrike.
Virtus.pro released its Fortnite roster in April 2021. The decision was made due to the ecosystem of the game revolving around players rather than clubs. On top of that, Fortnite’s core audience was not particularly appealing to club’s partners.
Media, merch and management
Fan base of Virtus.pro kept steadily growing in 2021: number of subscribers to the official VK page of the club surpasses half a million people, with other social media channels displaying close numbers: 460k on Facebook, 310k on YouTube, 340 on Instagram and 260k and 190k on Twitter and TikTok respectively. The videos from The International accumulated 500,000 views on YouTube and 1,7 million on VK. As for TikTok, #virtuspro attracted 9,5 million views during TI.
Players and management of Virtus.pro participated in numerous media projects by leading Russian and international social media: “Channel One”, Tatler, Forbes, “Vedomosti”, RBK, “Kommersant”, “REN TV”, “Friday”, TASS and radio ENERGY to name a few. Creating new esports media stars is one of the club’s priorities.
Virtus.pro keeps improving the ways of communicating with the fans, both online and offline. The club introduced a new design of its official website, launched Bearloga fan app and started separated YouTube channels for CS:GO, PUBG and PUBG MOBILE rosters in 2021. The VP.Bearloga franchise took off in June 2021 with computer clubs in Yota Arena and Ice Arena in Solntsevo. The fans can gather and watch matches there, and also meet their favorite players, visit autograph sessions, events and master classes.
VP also kept working with merch in 2021. For instance, the club designed unique jerseys for The International. December marked the start of a long term partnership with Atributika&Club, the official developer and manufacturer of trademark products for professional sports clubs and leagues, including NHL, KHL, Barcelona, Juventus, Spartak, Zenit, CSKA, Dinamo and a lot more.
A lot of fresh blood joined Virtus.pro. Ivan Lazarev, a former professional basketball player for CSKA with Euroleague and VTB United League trophies under his belt, joined VP as a Sports Director on August 7th, 2021. Alex Sharvadze, who previously worked as a «Sport FM» radio producer and was UFC Russia CMO with a focus on brand expansion on the local market, joined VP as a Marketing Director on August, 24th.
Positive financial balance would’ve been impossible to achieve for Virtus.pro without their partners that make communication with the fans more colorful. VP extended the partnership with Parimatch betting company and HyperX, a manufacturer of computer-related memory products in 2021. The deal with Haval automobile brand that brought to life a lot of memorable video campaigns had also been extended.
Virtus.pro struck a 3 year deal with Bybit in 2021. It became the club's official cryptocurrency platform and the NFT partner. In addition to that, VP announced a series of collectible cards that feature images of the club’s players and a virtual collection of t-shirts in the form of NFT tokens in cooperation with Lympo and Uniqly. Kingston FURY also became one of the club’s partners.
April of 2021 was the starting point for cooperation between Virtus.pro and Halls, which featured a lot of activities, including the commercial with the club's Dota 2 players. SberMarket and METRO became the club's first ever food partners.
Comment by Sergey Glamazda, CEO of Virtus.pro:
“I can’t say that everything worked out perfectly for us in 2021, but we are totally in the black. Dota 2 team reached the milestone set by the “Golden Roster” on The International. CS:GO roster that replaced the Polish squad started living up to the expectations and is now one of the best teams in the world. PUBG team makes us proud as well, and this is just the beginning. Thanks to our sales department we have such a strong list of partners, and each of them is a leader in their respective area. We have a lot of things to be proud of this year, but 2022 will bring us even more victories!”